The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: The End

Lost, we hardly knew ye. No, really, we hardly knew ye.

So here we are.  At the end.

Honestly, I need some time to digest before I can give you my pithy, hipster-ironic review.  All I can give you right now is this: The episode started.  I laughed.  I cheered.  I cocked my head quizzically.  I found myself oddly attracted to Jack for the first time ever.  I misted up here and there–but I didn’t cry.  That’s a big bummer, really.  I wanted the finale to make me cry.  (Although Vincent almost did it.  Stupid dog.)

What I can tell you is this: The finale was not perfect.  Lost was not perfect.  But before I start my nitpicking and my grousing, I would like to tip my hat to the people who put this show together.  As imperfect as it was, it likely changed television forever, and hopefully for the better.  More than any other network show I can think of, it was ambitious–epic in terms of space, time, mythology, and form.  It boasted one of the most diverse casts in television–what other show on American network TV would have entire episodes almost solely in Korean?  It was a genre-bender: not a cop show, not a lawyer show, not yet another CSI or medical soap opera.  Unlike most programs, which err on the side of dumb blandness, Lost was uncompromising in its commitment to difficulty and complexity.  It gave us the character of John Locke, one of the most unique personalities ever created for television.  It gave us Michael Emerson, and it gave us Sawyer without his shirt on.  At the end of the day, it entertained me.  I’m thankful for that.

Here are some questions for you to mull over if you’d like.  I don’t have the answers to these questions yet, myself, but I will be thinking about them.  Maybe you could shed some light on these issues before I write my epic post on the Grand Unified Theory of Lost (if I decide that there is one).

Question 1: In the end, what was the most important conflict of the series?  Jack vs. Locke (a.k.a. Science vs. Faith)?  Jack vs. his daddy issues (a.k.a. learning to “let go”)?  The Losties & Jacob vs. Smokey (a.k.a. free will vs. fate)?  Some other conflict I didn’t think of?

Question 2: So the Island wasn’t purgatory, but the Sideways world was?  Is this some sort of cosmic joke from Team Darlton?  Seriously, though, what did you guys think of the ending?

Question 3: What do you think happened in the original universe after Jack saved the Island?  What did Hurley and Ben do for all of those years together, for instance?  And Richard, Lapidus, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, and Claire: do you think they got home okay?  If so, what do you think they did there?  (Especially Richard!  What, did he going to go to community college or something and become someone’s executive assistant or something?)

This isn’t the end of Overthinking Lost, folks, so be sure to come back later this week.  First, we’ll kick things off with a super-special Lost-themed podcast this Wednesday.  Then, at the end of the week (or maybe Monday, depending on how work goes), I’ll put up a big old “What Does This All Mean?”-type post.  Is there anything else you would like us at OTI to overthink before this series comes to an end?

See you in another life, overthinkahs.

49 Comments on “The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: The End”

  1. Station Agent #

    Until put in this context by you:

    So the Island wasn’t purgatory, but the Sideways world was? Is this some sort of cosmic joke from Team Darlton?

    I didn’t like the whole purgatory thing, but now I do. Most meta storytelling device EVER.


  2. Kevin #

    I need time to think things over, before I start talking about how disappointed I was in the finale…

    …but here’s my take — and I’m surprised, based on what I’m reading online, that no one’s really talking about it, because I think it was all there:

    Everyone died. Period. And based on what Jacob warned everyone — that the light could never, EVER go out, or it would mean the end of everything — maybe it means the actual end of the world… though I’m not prepared to go that far yet.

    I think Jack failed, and that the island DID sink… which is why it was at the bottom of the ocean at the start of LA X. And that’s why Jack, Hurley and Ben are all in Purgatory — guess we don’t need to call it the “Sideways Universe” now — at the ages they were at when they died (i.e., when the island sank).

    I think Sawyer, Kate, Alpert, Miles and Lapidus? All dead. Remember Widmore’s admonition to Ben in “What They Died For” — “I already wired the plane with explosives.” My guess is they hit, say, 30,000 feet and went kablooie — and I’m guessing Smokey didn’t take all the C4 that had been on the plane, since it fit comfortably into Jack’s backpack a few episodes later. At least their ends came suddenly and without warning. (But again, the reason why they’re also living in Purgatory at the correct age.)

    Rose and Bernard? They would have sank with the rest of the Island.

    Who didn’t show up in Purgatory/the Sideways? Walt. Because he’s not dead yet.

    Anyway, just a crazy theory… and it’s entirely possible that the writers were always implying that Locke took all the C4, that Kate, Sawyer and the rest made it back to safety and lived out the rest of their lives… but I kinda like my theory.

    But one thing’s for sure: Sayid reuniting with Shannon in Purgatory? Total B.S.


  3. LC #

    No. The dialogue makes it pretty apparent there is no time in purgatory and these people are just reunited at the ages we see them at because those are the defining relationships of their lives. (Or most important.)

    It’s a really crappy and stupid waste of a season of storytelling as a meta-joke on the fans, and the whole “we never really cared about our mythology anyway” is lame, but I don’t think it is supposed to be a “they failed” ending.


  4. Chad #

    Insofar as I think the “The Island isn’t Purgatory, but LA *is*” thing is clever, I also think it’s a cop out. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s internally consistent, even with what we saw in this episode, much less the rest of the season. For instance, if this were some sort of perfect dream world, why were Kate’s and Sayid’s lives still practically the same (read: pretty bad)? Why were so many passengers of Oceanic 815 NOT present at the church (Michael and Walt, Nikki and Paolo, Mr. Eko, Ana Lucia, etc.)? And why were some non-passengers there (Desmond and Penny, Ben, etc.), but not every important non-passenger (Widmore and Eloise, Jacob and his brother, etc.)?

    Therefore, I feel I must take the “death of the author” approach (in which the author’s apparent intent is deemed to have no value in examining and understanding the text) and say that the events that took place at the church were nothing more than a shared spiritual experience and have no impact on the world at large. Everything that happened prior to that scene actually happened, and the characters will go on living their lives after that scene – doing so, however, with the knowledge and experience gained from living on the island.


  5. Rob #

    Overall the final episode was decent; I was happy with on-island events, the alt. timeline was a little weaker (and very similar to the much superior ending of Ashes to Ashes, a British TV series which concluded last week).

    One thing I liked was – that after everything – no one was inherently ‘special’. Some characters wanted to be or thought they were: Jack, Desmond, Ben, for example. But in the end, they weren’t. Jack convinced himself that he was, but for all of his talk, he didn’t HAVE to be the one who took on Jacob’s role. Desmond had the ability to withstand abnormally high levels of electromagnetism, and this gave him the knowledge different time-lines/realities, even the after-life, but ultimately he misinterpreted what he was seeing. Ben was never special, but had the cunning and knowledge to constantly appear so. Even Hurley, Jacob and MIB were not special: Jacob and Hurley drank water to make them immune to ageing, and learnt how to manipulate the island’s natural powers, but that is all. MIB was simply a creation of Jacob’s error, and was ultimately killable.

    So even though some characters tried to convince themselves otherwise, I come down on the ‘whatever happens, happens’ side of things. Our ‘heroes’ were just some of the lost souls who were on flight 815; the Others were just some people who had ended up on the island and that MiB/Jacob had decided to let stay, it would seem out of interest. Despite all this, individuals can {will always?} attempt to see deeper patterns in reality. So, if Jack acts as if killing MiB and plugging the island is his destiny, then this fantasied fate comes true. But only because of actions, and not for any ontological reason.


  6. Charlotte Gore #

    In the true spirit of overthinking it…

    What I thought happened was that Hurley and Ben probably stick around on the Island for a long, long, long time. For all we know it’s been thousands of years chronologically between Jack dying and them all coming together. What we saw wasn’t purgatory, though: it’s their reward for healing the Island.

    The era of Mother, Jacob and his Brother was a toxic one. The rules they created, and the war they conducted was the real source of misery and pain for the Losties. Their efforts, what they achieved, was a resetting and a purging of the old rules (by uncorking the Island) – no more deaths of pregnant women, no more inability to leave the Island, no more ‘turn into a smoke monster if you go down there’ business.

    They healed the Island. They saved it. They brought to an end a very dark and horrible period of the Island’s history.. and their reward, I think, is being able to use the Island’s power, that ‘magic box’ to create a world designed purely to get them all together. If you look at how nice that alternative universe is, the empathic touch of Hurley is all over it. This is what he uses his power for.

    I guess it was sort of obvious it would end this way. The mythology of the Island isn’t *their* story.

    It’s sort of funny though that the end really was a cross between ‘It’s all Hurley’s Dream’ and ‘They’re all dead’.. who knew?


  7. Jess #

    They’re only dead in the alternate timeline. They all lived and died as shown or after escaping the island depending on which characters you’re talking about.

    Miles, Kate, Frank and co escaped and lived out their lives.

    Ben and Hurley became the new Jacob/MIB without the rivalry and protected the island til they died.

    Des presumably got home to Penny.

    The alternate was created because Jack couldn’t let go of his life for many, many reasons. It was only when he found peace in every way possible that he, and all the souls he is connected to, could move on.


  8. Prest #

    I was thinking about the whole “realism” vs. myth discussion over “Across the Sea.” Here’s a thought:
    The first half of Lost (seasons 1-3) was about realism, science, and coincidence. Then we went “through the looking glass,” and the second half of Lost was about their respective opposites: myth, faith and fate. Flashbacks (seasons 1-3) were about explaining characters’ motivations. Flashes forward, through time, and sideways (seasons 4-6) were about failing to escape destiny.


  9. Gab #

    (The featured article on Wiki today is for the first episode of the fourth season, btw.)

    I did cry, when Sun/Jin and Sawyer/Juliet remembered. I got sniffly when Rose and Bernard showed up and when we first see Penny in the church.

    Were Michael and WAAAAAAAALT! in the church? I didn’t see them, but I could be mistaken.

    Since it would be boring to make a laundry list of what I liked and didn’t like, I won’t. But I’d be curious to see if anything *really* bothered or *really* pleased anybody, as in if anything in particular ruined a moment or moved someone to tears.

    @Chad: You point out something bothering me until the very last shot of the doors opening. I was thinking, “But Kate and Sayid are fugitives! Sun and Jin are on the run from her dad! Juliette is Jack’s EX WIFE!” But I tend to think that the church itself was like the last stop on a trainride or something, and the goal was for them all to remember and then merge together there. Once they *were* together, they could move on to the next phase of existence, whatever that may be.

    However, I *was* curious as to why so many people were absent, flight and non-flight alike- but the non-flight-members being there didn’t bother me, since they still had deep connections to the people in the Oceanic crash that started the series.

    1) Well, the way the show was framed, meaning structured around Jack, suggests a bait-and-switch, imo. On the surface, it looks like the daddy issues, meaning fate v. free will. But I think it was actually a science v. faith show.

    @Kevin: You hint that everybody dies together, and I’d have to contest that. Christian says some people die before Jack, some long after (to paraphrase- I don’t remember the precise wording), and he also says there is no “when” in the world of the church, indicating to me that the alt-universe doesn’t run parallel OR perpendicular, it just exists, and they get there when they get there, regardless of where they are in linear time when they die. This doesn’t explain the Island being on the bottom of the ocean, no, but not *everything* needs to be explained. And I’d postulate that since the Purgatory world is something they all created *together*, what if they collectively decided to put it there- if they still couldn’t quite “let go,” so to speak, and needed it to exist somehow in their created world?

    Agreed about Sayid!!!!!! I was never a fan of that coupling, and was extremely irked to see them together, so it kind of was a buzzkill. His true love was Nadia! Granted, I’m still a sap and a romantic and want the man to be HAPPY, for f*ck’s sake, so by the time they were being lovey-dovey in the church, I was able to get a few warm fuzzies- but still, I was annoyed.

    2) Ambiguous, as per Lost’s wont, but somehow satisfying. It really hits you over the head that it’s the end (even without knowing the title of the episode) when they’re all in the church together. The white light reminded me of _Six Feet Under_, and in a wonderful way.

    @Charlotte Gore: You put it into words better than I was able to on my own, saying the alt-world was their reward for fixing the Island, created with its magic and Hurley’s help. I was thinking pretty early on that the sidways world had a lot of Hurley in it, and I think you put it together nicely. Thanks- ended a lot of frustration on my part as I was trying to articulate it and put all of the pieces together. :)

    3) Jack probably does die, Hurley (with Ben’s help) rules the Island (better than Jacob did, as Ben suggested he could), and those on the plane hopefully make it back. Sun and Jin’s baby? I guess she lives with her grandmother or something. Richard is a sad case because of what you allude to: he has absolutely nothing to return to, he would have to start completely from scratch- that’s why I had been hoping he’d die in a meaningful way. Kate and Claire probably end up raising Erin together. I’m guessing Hurley would get Des off the Island somehow, too, which eases my pain a little, as does Miles getting off.

    I’m with you, Mlawski. It could have been better, but it could have been worse. My favorite little note was the one where the person said, “I never understood Trekkies… until I became a Lostie!”


  10. Charlotte Gore #

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I’ve remembered that Hurley’s got form for stuff like this.

    Remember when he was put in charge of the Dharma food drop, and he just gave all the food away in one big party?

    I kinda think this is like that.


  11. Tom P #

    @Chad — Why were so many passengers of Oceanic 815 NOT present at the church (Michael and Walt, Nikki and Paolo, Mr. Eko, Ana Lucia, etc.)? And why were some non-passengers there (Desmond and Penny, Ben, etc.), but not every important non-passenger (Widmore and Eloise, Jacob and his brother, etc.)?

    Christian was pretty clear that the people who waited for you in the church were the defining relationships from your life. When you faced your life and understood what happened, they were waiting for you to pass on with them. So, in order:

    Michael and Walt — Michael is stuck wherever you get stuck before getting to purgatory for what he did in life. Walt had a lot of life left after his stint on the island and was waiting for different people elsewhere.

    Nikki & Paulo — ultimately, none of the Losties liked them, so they weren’t part of the afterparty.

    Mr. Eko — Probably stuck in the same place where Michael is since he’s a pretty bad dude.

    Ana Lucia — Staying in purgatory. Maybe by choice like Eloise, maybe because she hasn’t “gotten it” yet.

    Desmond & Penny — Important enough to the character’s lives that they waited for him.

    Ben — didn’t get to go to the afterparty. Decided to stay in purgatory and help people make the right decisions… like Eloise.

    Eloise — I get the idea that she stayed behind in purgatory out of guilt for killing Daniel… so she decided to give him in this life what she couldn’t give him in the last. A peaceful family life (with his dad) where he got to be a piano player.

    I get why folks didn’t like it. I think they’re wrong, but I get it.


  12. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I barely ever watched the show, but I caught the second half of the finale. I kind of expected it to be full of twists, turns, expository speeches, double-crosses, reveals, etc. Just based on the impression I always had of the show, it seems like they would pack the two and a half hours with Answers that tie the whole thing together.

    So I was surprised. It seems that a lot of Lost’s big mysteries were answered in previous episodes, and other mysteries just weren’t destined to be answered. The finale had a lot of emotional moments for fans, but nothing shocking that makes you scramble back to reexamine old episodes for clues. I guess that’s okay — like I said, I haven’t been watching so I can’t judge.

    The last time I was paying any attention to the show was when the Dharma Initiative was a big deal, so I was surprised that didn’t seem to play any role in the finale — it was basically a narrative red herring, not the key to the Island’s significance, right?


  13. LC #

    @Matthew – Nope, the DI was a narrative Red Herring. So were MIB and Jacob, really. So was Walt. Ultimately, the writers were telling a “you have to learn to love yourself and acknowledge the most important people in your life” story. They left the island and its importance mostly unexplained because other than “your struggles on the island were the most important time in your life for the bonds you forged” they didn’t care.

    There are “explanations” scattered throughout, but none with emotional weight or satisfaction because ultimately the writers didn’t think the island part of the story was the interesting part. (They knew the fans did, and so lied to them and hyped that part up, but they actually didn’t care about that at all.)


  14. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Let me post a question: how much of the FINALE do you think the show’s creators had in mind when it aired? Do you think they knew what the Island was? Do you think they knew about Jacob looking for a replacement, and his rivalry with the Man In Black? Do you think they knew that it would end with everyone meeting in Purgatory? Basically, do you think they knew what they were doing from Day 1, or did they just improvise a way out?


  15. Kevin #

    I figured everyone would disagree with my theory that Jack failed and the island sunk, while the plane didn’t make it either… but there are a couple things to keep in mind (in addition to the in-show details I mentioned above):

    – Darlton said early in the season that there’s a reason the Island is on the floor of the ocean, mostly intact, in the alt-timeline.
    – Think about the reveal of the side-Island in “LA X”: it was an omniscient choice to show it. None of our characters could possibly know what happened to it… but we, the audience, are provided with the additional knowledge.
    – Going back to Darlton, they’ve been saying for some time now that there would be lots to debate about what happened after the episode ended. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit… but if it were just about “Everyone is in purgatory, simple as that,” there would be nothing at all to debate.
    – The idea of “explosives on the Ajira plane,” “blowing up the Ajira plane,” etc. has been mentioned in just about every single episode this season. Not just for a plot reason, I believe, but because it’s something we’re supposed to remember by the end of the season: Widmore had extensively wired the plane to go “boom,” and Locke couldn’t possibly have removed it all and fit it into Jack’s back along with everything else in it.
    – Going back to Darlton: they’re on record talking about how much they loved the Sopranos finale, and David Chase’s insistence that “everything you need to know about how it ends is presented in the series”. Everything we need to know about Lost’s finale is there, too… in the very telling shot of the sunken island.

    Given all that — as well as both Jacob’s insistence that the light could never go out, and Smokey’s insistence that he’d sink the island and everyone on it — I think it’s pretty clear that something more drastic happened.


  16. Wilbur #

    Shoot, you can kind of take this final episode at face value, if you choose to:

    – The airplane either blew up or crashed (remember, the hydraulics were being held together with duct tape?) and those people on it got iced in the process (including one Richard Alpert, who I’d imagine lost his magical powers the same way Smokey did when the island was uncorked…which doesn’t explain Hurley still having powers, but concessions must be made to the show we’re discussing).
    – The people we see in the church at the end were there because the most important, life-defining time of their existences was when they knew each other. Hence, no Walt, no Paolo and Nikki (thank God), no Farraday or Miles or Charlotte or any of that. It’s a time imemorial, way off in another realm, where they are who they were as their best selves (but still somehow unhappy, because of all that friendship and people-you-love talk).
    – The final speech coming from Jack’s pops prior to his meeting everyone out in the church means, to me, that yes indeed the most important conflict was Jack vs. his father issues (remember, he chased his dad’s apparition from that very first episode).
    – I’m very glad they didn’t give Shannon any lines. She was AWFUL.
    – Ben stayed behind because he had to work his own things out with the people who were most important to HIM, i.e. not the 815 survivors, but rather Rosseau and Alex. That party in the chapel was just for the 815 people were ready to leave it behind.

    Not perfect, but all in all, not too terrible, considering the millstone around these writers necks all season. You can call the Purgatory scenario a cop-out, but you can also see it as a charming little dig at freaked-out fans expecting so much more out of a television show.


  17. Bob #

    First and foremost – I started crying like a newborn when Jin and Sun started speaking English and didn’t stop till the end. This is only the third time I’ve cried in over a decade (White Sox winning the World Series and Uncle’s funeral the other two), so this obviously hit a note with me.

    @Belinkie – Lindeloff/Cuse have said point blank that day 1 they didn’t plan all of this. I think MiB and Jacob were ‘ideas’ but no where near as complex as it turned out to be.

    @TomP – agree with you in why people were/were not there 99% – the 1% is that Michael is now a wisper and cannot move on.


  18. Kevin #

    One more thing: a lot of us thought it would be great for the show to end with Smokey winning, or alternately, our heroes failing… and this was the only way to show that, but also give the show a “happy ending.” They couldn’t show everyone sinking to a watery grave, or blowing up on the Ajira plane. It really is the Sopranos ending: let the characters go out on a positive note while hinting at the bigger, darker picture.

    Look at it this way: Jack and the gang DID “succeed” — they stopped the Man in Black (in a pretty anticlimactic way, but still…).


  19. Bob #

    @Kevin – This is a brilliant ending because it is all open to interpretation. No matter what I say you’ll believe the island is on the bottom because ‘Jack did wrong’. I personally think the island is on the bottom because in creating the ‘Sideways World’, their minds needed a reason to for Oceanic 815 to land. So even if the consciously didn’t know of the island until their ‘awaking’, they knew the island was at the bottom of the Ocean. Hence why it looked when they were on the island. Just my interpretation.


  20. Bob #

    Sayid and Shannon – Here is why I liked it: Sayid was wretched whenever he was with Nadia. Yes, he loved here but they were not good together. Personally the women I’ve loved the most has been the worst relationship I’ve ever had; yes I care for her to this day but we didn’t work well together. Even in his Oceanic 6 days living with Nadia, Sayid had a certain pain in his eyes living with her – I never truly felt he was happy more he felt like he needed to be happy. With Shanon he just let go and let himself be happy on the island – he never had to worry about being ‘worthy’ of dating her or have the guilt of torturing her. That is why I thought this was a satisfying conclusion to him.


  21. Tom P #

    @Bob — the 1% is that Michael is now a wisper and cannot move on.

    I think Michael eventually gets to move on. Just not with one of the ladies who he murdered. Let’s be honest here — Ben murdered about 100x more people than Michael and he gets a happy ending of sorts.

    @Kevin: at the ages they were at when they died (i.e., when the island sank).

    I think this is incorrect because Jack’s father essentially said “Yeah, they all died. Some before you and some long after you… but everyone gets here eventually.” Time in the Purgatory world works the way Dr Manhattan experiences it Watchmen — everything goes on at the same time. That’s why they’re all the same age — so the people they had to meet would recognize them.

    Who didn’t show up in Purgatory/the Sideways? Walt. Because he’s not dead yet.

    Walt didn’t show up at the church because, ultimately, the people on the island weren’t all that important to his life. He spent maybe 40 days with them, got kidnapped, left the island, and never saw them again. He probably went on to have some kind of life, got drafted by the NFL, and ultimately built loving relationships with different people.


  22. Ashley #

    Here’s my take on things:

    I see Jack as having succeeded — he accomplished what he wanted: kill MiB, and save the island. The plane flew overhead, proving that his friends (minus Hurley, Ben and Desmond) had made it off the island.

    In the alt-reality/purgatory, the island was at the bottom of the ocean because it symbolizes the end of life as they knew it, and a chance for them all to move on — no island, no life, no worries, and everyone can then come to terms with themselves and their actions in life (which is the whole point of Purgatory).

    Because, after the characters died, they continued on in Purgatory with the new attitudes to life they had developed within themselves in actual life. For example: Rose had developed a sort of “let be” philosophy towards life before she died, and so on the plane in the sideways reality, she is much more cool and unconcerned than we saw her on the plane in the original timeline. Sayid had not come to terms with his dark actions in life, and so his self-view is the same in the afterlife, so his life is very much the same. Sawyer, on the other hand, had come to terms with his con-artist ego, and so, in the afterlife, he reprises his search for Anthony Cooper as a cop. This profiling can be done for each character, I feel.

    So, the purgatory-place is a second chance to come to terms with all those loose ends in one’s life and move on. At least, this is so for those characters who did something to redeem themselves, or something — Michael is apparently still stuck on the island, whispering to whoever comes around.

    As for Sayid’s hooking up with Shannon, I have always seen Nadia as more of a symbol for the life Sayid could have had if he (this all in his own mind) was not bad. Shannon, in contrast, is a real person and symbolizes his chance to heal and become better than he was. I don’t know, it makes sense to me.


  23. Kevin #

    @Bob & Ashley: but here’s why the “Island on the bottom of the ocean” CAN’T be a construct by anyone/everyone on Oceanic 815 — because as shown to the audience, it features at least one detail *that only the audience knows about*:

    The shark from Hydra Island with the Dharma logo tattooed on its tail.

    Only the audience has ever been shown it — it’s only ever appeared underwater. So in order to believe that the island didn’t sink, and it’s all a construct created out of their imaginations… you also have to posit that they’re imagining things that are not only factually accurate, but that they have no prior knowledge of and get the very specific details right in their communal dream.

    Can’t buy that, given all the other evidence cited previously.

    But really, so what if the island sank? Everyone got their happy ending.


  24. Tom P #

    @Kevin: you also have to posit that they’re imagining things that are not only factually accurate, but that they have no prior knowledge of and get the very specific details right in their communal dream.

    I don’t think it’s a dream. It’s a way-station. If you take the Jacob/MIB episode as a creation story, then the Island’s light is the source of life. In retrospect, if everyone is dead in sideways world, then the island being underwater symbolizes that there is no life in this world. Them showing the Island underwater in the premiere is their version of saying “something is different in this world.” We just don’t know exactly -what- is different until the finale.


  25. Bob #

    @Kevin – well said (Everyone got their happy ending). While I think the Hydra Island shark is a good point – neh a great point – I’m just not sure if *I* can buy that it was all a dream and inside that dream was another dream [You can substitute test or challenge or plane of existence for dream]. But that is why I love this ending – it was Rorschach test. When reading ambiguous endings I have always drawn a happy conclusion. In this ending the island was real, Jack gave his life to continue this island, he went to ‘purgatory’ and is now going on to the next level.


  26. Kevin #

    Oh, I don’t think the sideways was a “dream” — I thought someone had used that word previous to me to talk about how Purgatory was made. But in the sense that it’s a “construct,” an artificial plane of being that is based on the Oceanic 815’s experiences and memories, whatever… it is one based on knowledge that the O815’ers DON’T have. Which is why I think the island being suck isn’t just a “metaphor” explaining that for them, the island no longer “exists” — if that was the case, the island simply *wouldn’t be*.

    Part of my problem with the finale ending is that the rules of Purgatory are still pretty unclear. So, in theory, Aaron has died at some point in his life… but when he’s moved to Purgatory to be with the people who most influenced his life… he lives it out as a 1-day-old? Really? (Or is the Purgatory “Aaron” just imaginary, a means in which Claire and Kate could have their flashes? I don’t think so… because Aaron is with everyone in the church at the end.)


  27. Bob #

    Oh – can we all agree that the Jimmy Kimmel Special was horrible? The first 5 minutes were okay then it just got worse from there. It was like watching a Survivor reunion without a great interviewer like Jeff Probst nor anything ambitious being done.


  28. JLRooney #

    All that time watching that show and it ends in a poorly-done Twilight Zone rip-off. The creators must be laughing all the way to the bank.


  29. Ryan #

    If you’re up for suggestions, I might recommend doing a piece on LOST’s focus on community. It may not seem as big as their Science v. Faith, Fate v. Free Will, etc. debates, but it is there. Look at the bigger picture: characters all with flaws, finding redemption through a community; strangers thrown together in an impossible scenarios/circumstances; in the beginning: “live together or die alone,” and then the end: moving on together to the next life. There is something here that needs to be overthought.


  30. dock #

    Usually I read all the posts before posting but this time I am just going to let it fly, so I dont forget anything or get lost (hah!) in other discussions.

    First, let me say that last week when Mlawski asked what our biggest fear was for the finale, I believe I said something along the lines of “everyone having a happy ending, where they all reunite (or live on, I might have said. I cant remember exactly). That being said- this ending was absolutly awesome IMO.

    My thoughts for where the show would go were so wrong, and I am totally cool with it. It seems like most people that didnt like it, didnt like it because they thought something else should/would happen. Thats not a very fair way to judge art (which Lost most certainly is).

    If nothing else I am thankfull to the people of Lost for giving me a really terrific fantasy to explore for probably the rest of my life. Its pretty cool to think that at any point in your life you could bump into someone whose touch would bring back memories of a past life. If the alt-world was real then their lives were lived for decades before they met their catalyst. You never know…we could be in the alt world right now.

    As for what happened on the island I thought that part was perfect. I dont need to know what the cork was exactly, or what it held back. I dont need the history of the universe or the truth to the meaning of life explained to me for this show to make sense. Once the cork came out, all Jacobs influence was officially broken. Richard was allowed to age, Flocke could be hurt and even killed like any regular man (he could also kill the candidates, in return). Putting the plug back in left the door open for the new guys influence. I would love to see a spin-off, “Hurleys Island” where he and Ben get into zany adventures.

    I know some people I talked to at work said they felt like all you needed was season 1 and season 6 and nothing else mattered, but the whole point was the journey itself. To invest in the characters and their stories, to learn about all the different societies or camps or whatever you want to call them, these were the points of the show.

    I do wish they showed a few more things, like at least just what happened to Desmond, I mean he was alive and laying there last we see, so does he die? Does he stay on the island, because if not how would he get off? Does he still jump from universe to universe?

    One thing is for sure I couldnt think of anything else besides Lost all day today and I imagine I will be thinking about it for a very long time. I like the idea that there is no time in the alt-world (which I will not call purgatory because it isnt). We saw at the start of the season when Juliette died she said “It worked” and babbled something about getting coffee. We then see it in the alt world as she has her awakening. So we can assume that once you die you transport right to your awakening moment. Which would explain why Jin and Sun could speak perfect English immediatly after. When Kate says she has missed Jack so much, its because she lived her life for however long, obviously never seeing Jack again as he died as she was taking off from the island. Michael wasnt there because Jack never had a significant relationship with him. Also, Ghost Michael told Hurley before he couldnt “move on” and thats why he was one of the ghost whispers on the island. I do wonder what then happens to guys like Keamy who get killed while already in the afterlife. Is that to mean they go to hell? Start over? Its interesting to think about. Also, what happens to Jacks son? Claire Jack and Juliette all go to heaven/nirvana does he then live on in alt-world alone? Is he even real, in the sense that he has a soul? I did notice that once Locke told him he didnt have a son, you never saw him again.

    At any rate this is getting to be an extremely long post, even for a series finale discussion. On a personal level I just want to give all my respect and admiration to the people here at Great stuff from begining to end, from discussion and theories to analysis and interpretation comming here became part of my Lost experience and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. And the people who made Lost, probably will never see this comment, but for the record- I loved every second of it and think it was hands down the best show ever. Ive never seen deeper or more complex characters than some of the ones portrayed on this show. And no matter what people say- the ending worked.

    I’ll see ya in another life, brothas!! (and sistas!)


  31. dock #

    Ah! I did forget something- the questions!

    Q1. It seemed to me to be a pretty decisive victory for Faith over Science. Free Will vs Fate is a little tougher to call, because Jacks belief that it was his fate in turn influenced the free will that he did actually have. The daddy issue I dont think was as huge an issue as people may think. I kind of think it was the biggest thing driving Jack and thus had to be the final issue resolved before he could let go or move on, but I dont think the show was really dedicated to Jack getting over his Daddy issues. That seems more like an extension of some of the other, bigger conflicts already mentioned. But I would say Science vs Faith was the biggest theme, and Faith won out, imo.

    Q2. I really have trouble with labeling it Purgatory. I dont think it is, really. Purgatory is suppossed to be nothingness. Neutral sterile nothingness that you float around in aimlessly until people pray enough for you to move on (that was what I was taught in Catholic School, anyway. I know there are endless differnt ideas/interpretations of it, but I’d be willing to bet in all of them theres a sense of punishment involved, which I just didnt get as being part of the alt-world). Im cool with it, too. We only saw that stuff for 1 season so its not like we had too much invested in the significance of the alt-world. It was kind of a corny way to give everyone a happy ending, but look at the island stuff for your meaning to the show. The alt-world is just a way to be happy for everyone.

    Q3- Presumably everyone lived out their lives and when they died transported to their awakening moment in the alt-world. What those lives consisted of? I hope Desmond gets off the island. If Hurley has the power now, I imagine he would. Lupidus retires from flying and becomes a limo driver. Miles and Sawyer get jobs in security somewhere and Kate and Claire raise Aaron. Richard I would think would be blown away by the present (future to him) and would really enjoy discovering Ritas Water Ice, KFC and The Internet.


  32. Gab #

    *nice* suggestion, Ryan- I second it, Mlawski!!!!

    @Tom P- I think the only person I’d contest your explanation of is Mr. Eko. He was a bad dude, yes, but he had just reached redemption and was, indeed, doing good things on the Island- and then he bloody got killed (AAAAAGH!! I’m *still* bitter about that, which is a good and bad thing). I’d argue that, from what we saw of him, he was most definitely at his best there- indicating he should be in the church, because it was around (at least some of) those people when he reached that. I’d say perhaps he wasn’t there because Jack and the main cast didn’t know him well enough, if we’re sticking to the show itself- had he been picking, *they* may have been present with HIM, but since *they* were picking, he wasn’t around. If we allow a little meta-knowledge to penetrate, I’d guess he wasn’t there because the actor (I forget his name, sorry) opted not to return for the finale, since he said adamantly in the past that he was done with the series- and this is even based on the assumption he would have been asked, in spite of those statements being made.


  33. Brimstone #

    heard the new Hold Steady album? ‘Heaven is whenever we can get together….’?

    they’re in Heaven, not Purgatory. that’s why they’re all happy and all the questions are answered

    or was that all Jack’s dying dream?

    loved Hurley taking over the Island

    fight between Locke/Jack was a bit silly

    i haven’t really been following the show but i saw it with some friends as a cultural thing… i’m an American expat, and i want to keep up
    it hasn’t taken off here… bit too intense/confusing for Aussies and the religion thing really turned some people off


  34. Joe #

    I was happy with the ending. Without writing a massive post, my grand theory of lost holds that in the end its a microcosm for real life. The characters who we have grown with for six years are who its all about. In real life we can never know all the answers. We cant know how we got here. We cant know why we are here. But we can know who we are, and who we love. And that’s what lost is to me. A story of real people. They are living in a messed up universe but ultimately they are us. Trying to find their way. And so just as it is in real life, it doesn’t matter where we end up until we get there. It’s the journey that’s important.


  35. Tom P #

    @Gab: I’ll go back to the Walt explanation. Eko knew these people for like 25 days and then died. I imagine they weren’t the most important people in his life and, ultimately, none of them missed him. Eko probably had his own group that involved Yemi and… some other people whom he liked.

    Although maybe he went wherever Keamy went — wherever bad folks go.


  36. dock #

    @Tom P- They go to a lake of fire and fry, wont see em again till the fourth of july


  37. Tom P #

    I did walk in to that one, didn’t I?


  38. Greg #

    Eko already moved on with his brother back when he died in season 3. As he’s dying, they splice in a scene bathed in yellow light where Eko, as a child, is walking away with his arm around his brother. This is the first time they show us the sideways, even if we didn’t know that’s what we were seeing when we did.


  39. Gab #

    OMG, Greg, you’re a frakking genius! (And I’m being earnest)


  40. Kevin #

    re: Mr. Eko — according to E!, they did indeed ask him to come back to film a scene in the finale (don’t know if it was the final scene in the church)… and he asked for five times what they were offering. So Mr. Eko never made the appearance they had planned for him.

    Sometimes it’s only about the money…


  41. Anansi #

    Maybe this is to obvious and only qualifies as thinking rather than overthinking, but I’m surprised no one has mentioned the show’s final literary reference. The ending with everyone being reunited after death before proceeding to the next stage of existence seemed very much like the ending of The Last Battle.


  42. E.P #

    “Richard I would think would be blown away by the present (future to him) and would really enjoy discovering Ritas Water Ice, KFC and The Internet.”

    Richard lifed a pretty modern suburban life with the others in dharma barracks and visited the outside world (meeting child Locke and Juliet) So surely he’s had KFC and used the internet.


  43. Jacob #


    Faraday’s mother saying “pushing that button is the most important thing you do” (or similar) to Desmond leads to Desmond pushing the button and staying close to the electromagnetic source.
    Being close to the source for years builds up his resistance to electromagnetism enough for him to way later uncork the island without getting killed by the light. (building up resistance might also have been the Dharma plan for the Hatch, were they to explore the electromagnetism they couldn’t be killed by it).
    Either way, Desmond uncorking the island (at the right time) saves Daniel Faraday/saves the world/ -so, his mother thinks this is really important.

    Otherwise, I like Charlotte Gore’s “Age of Hurley” theory a lot – With “Hurley as Jacob” – and no conflict with a smokey/dead brother/mothers av evil” = no neurotic rules, Desmond (and the plane) gets to leave the island and dying Jack got a nice farewell present.

    Whether all of the alternate-LA-World-of-the-sunken-Island is purgatory or not I feel is unclear.
    It might be the work of a time traveling Hurley as well, and I do like the idea of Ben teaming up with a Hurley with supernatural powers.


  44. Kelli Marshall #

    I hate to say this, but I’m kinda’ glad you “wanted the finale to make [you] cry but that it didn’t.” Can I assume, then, that you didn’t buy into the overly sentimental ending with Jack and the dog?

    Like you, I praise the creators of the show for creating and executing their wildly massive vision. And overall, I believe the finale was top notch, well done, fitting. But something about those last few shots just rubbed me the wrong way. More here on my blog, if you’re interested:


  45. Babacamanchild #

    Wonderful last episode. Papered over the numerous cracks and false starts in Lost’s sprawling, fractured narrative both by providing a robustly emotional character-driven finale, utilising an earned sense of love being the ultimate truth in life, and by showing once and for all that ‘Lost’ makes sense only if viewed on an allegorical level.
    Why was the island underwater? Because the island represents life and that world was death. Why were the same issues plaguing some of the characters in the afterlife? Because they were too much a part of their characters to ‘let go’ even at this juncture. The Others – the people we use to convince ourselves of our own group’ superiority; Jacob and The Temple – a temporary God (with his temporary nemesis, the progressive, scientific, MiB) with a temporary religion flowering around Him; the Rules – ever-changing socially-binding constructs that are not the same as eternal, immutable natural laws. Hurley’s new rules represent a shift for the better in humanity’s progress. Who wouldn’t want Hurley overseeing the ethics of humanity?!
    All this and the island-world turns out to be 100% real after all, albeit in an improbable, allegorical story context. Brilliant.


  46. Petra #

    Was NOT happy with the “sideways” wrap-up. I was okay with the what happened on the island. What was Desmond doing and what were the “flashes/remembering” if it was all in Jack’s (dying) mind?

    Something I have not seen yet (though I’m not saying no one anywhere has mentioned it) is the fact that Sawyer and Kate are together. Obviously, they leave on the plane together. But assuming the plane doesn’t blow up, I’m guessing those two hook back up. There was some flirty chemistry when Sawyer was a cop and since Jack and Juliet are both dead, I’m guessing Sate or Kawyer or whatever you wanna call it happened. Which is fine with me because I preferred them together anyway. But I also think it’s another instance of the writers trying to satisfy everyone while satisfying no one (okay, okay — some people liked it but I don’t see why).


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